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If we could talk to the animals

September 16, 2007|Jason La, Jane Engle, Mary E. Forgione

Interested in learning another language? How about elk? Expert guides at the Gateway Canyons Resort, about an hour south of Grand Junction, Colo., are offering elk-calling lessons as part of the resort's Canyon Colors package. In the wilderness near the resort, you will learn how to lure the mammals by imitating their loud, cavernous calls. The lesson takes three to four hours and comes with an elk bugle to help you mimic their distinctive sounds. The Canyon Colors package includes two nights' accommodations, a horseback ride and a guided wilderness tour. It is available through Oct. 31. Prices start at $800, based on double occupancy. Info: (970) 931-2458, www.gatewaycanyons.com.

-- Jason La

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Green wine

Here's a guilt-free trip for eco-conscious oenophiles: riding a biodiesel (soybean-powered) van to visit vineyards that practice organic and sustainable farming. A new Santa Barbara company called Sustainable Vine Wine Tours offers daylong outings to several wineries in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Rita Hills. You meet the winemakers, sample their vintages and salve your conscience. The company donates 1% of the proceeds to environmental groups, said owner Bryan Hope, a "green" building consultant. The tour fee, $125 per person, includes pickup at the Amtrak station or your hotel, wine tastings and an organic picnic lunch. Reservations are required. (805) 698-3911, www.sustainablevine.com.

-- Jane Engle

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Pen pal painter

"But when will I do the starry sky, then, that painting that's always on my mind?" Vincent van Gogh wrote to friend and fellow artist Émile Bernard in 1888 as he pondered what would become a dreamy blue star-scape in "Starry Night Over the Rhone." Van Gogh wrote 20 letters about his art and his emotional struggles to Bernard before committing suicide two years later. "Painted With Words," which opens Sept. 28 and runs through Jan. 6 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York ([212] 685-0008; www.themorgan.org), details some of Van Gogh's thoughts about his work and his inner demons. Paintings, watercolors and drawings referred to in the letters also are on display.

-- Mary E. Forgione

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Roomier at JFK

Fliers can hope for a faster transit through New York's notoriously congested JFK airport, thanks to a new $1.3-billion American Airlines terminal. The terminal, about 50% larger than Madison Square Garden, offers dozens of retail and food outlets, 84 ticket counters, 44 self-service kiosks, 10 security lanes and a U.S. Customs and Immigration station that can process more than 1,600 people an hour. First- and business-class customers get their own check-in and security lanes, two Admirals Clubs and a Flagship Lounge equipped with private showers.

-- J.E.

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